Friday, September 25, 2009

My Toaster

This is my toaster. I have had it for eleven years. I share it with my wife and child. It was a gift from my friend Jelly, and his wife, Mrs. Jelly. Thank you!

We make toast on it. It can make two slices of toast at once. It is very versatile. Bread goes in, hot toast comes out. It is not very hard to use.

Once the toast pops out, we apply butter. Also, other toppings may be used.

The toast pops out on its own, when it is ready. There is no need to do anything. If you make it pop out yourself, the toast will fly out of the toaster and (hopefully) land on your plate. Aim is important.

Sometimes it may land on the floor. If so, I am not worried: the dog is right there.

In England, some toasters can pick up BBC-1. This is not the case in America. I have tried to tune in NPR on my toaster on a number of occasions, but the best I could do was an AM urban adult contemporary station broadcasting out of Biloxi.

I practice safety whenever I use my toaster. I am OSHA certified. Here are a few toaster safety tips, in case you are planning on getting a toaster of your own:

• Never put a toaster in a dishwasher. It will leave your toast damp and colorless.
• Never use a toaster in the shower, for the same reason. Having your coffee maker in the shower with you every morning requires multi-tasking enough without having to worry about getting shampoo in your raspberry jam.
• Never stick a fork or knife into a working toaster for any reason, unless you are attempting to loosen a bagel that is stuck and beginning to smolder.
• Never dry socks or underwear in a pop-up toaster. A microwave oven works best for this particular application.
• If making cheese toast, use an oven, as the cheese tends to melt in a pop-up toaster and will gum up the works. Also, it makes your kitchen smell really rank for about three days.
• If your toaster cord is worn or frayed, or if the copper conductors are exposed, wrap the exposed area with a wet nap and tie securely in place. This will provide you with years of continued enjoyment of your toaster.

I like to keep my toaster clean and shiny. A little Windex does the trick, but Formula 409 works in a pinch. Avoid the use of harsh abrasives, as they may have a tendency of give you hives.

My toaster has many exciting settings from which to choose: ultra-light, light, medium-light, tan, dun, medium, dark, dark and crispy, extra-dark, black-and-crunchy and slightly singed.

In addition to the many exciting settings available on my toaster, its versatility as a small kitchen appliance is second to none. I have put the following in my toaster: white bread, bagels, pop-tarts, apple slices, croissant, sourdough, coffee crumb cake, brioche, cottage loaf, chicken fingers, scones, biscuit halves, naan, toaster strudel, oatmeal raison cookies, matzo, baklava, bologna (sliced), tortilla, Burmese kippers, chapatti, pecan-maple Danish, bear claw and lemon pie.

What makes the best toast? White bread (make it Wonder Bread, please!), multi-grain and Roman Meal.

What makes the worst toast? Barbari bread, olive loaf and sliced Tapir runt bread.

I enjoy my toaster, and recommend pop-up toasters to all of my readers. If you don’t have one, many community banks will provide you one free of charge with an initial deposit of only $100.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Blast from the Past - 1995

My old high school bud and former roomie returns from Japan with his lovely wife in tow.

He and I corresponded during his four years in the Air Force, and I treasure one particular letter he wrote me from boot camp while sitting in the latrine after "lights out."

He was, of course, caught by his sergeant, and was duly punished.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Looks Like It's Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This afternoon we gathered a few things from the garden. Here is a picture of what we gathered today.

There are sunflowers in the garden, and they seem to attract lots of little flying bugs. I like the look of sunflowers from a distance, but up close I think they are nasty.

The leaves on the pepper plants are wilting. Not surprising, of course, as I rarely water the garden. We have not gotten enough rain to keep the garden healthy, yet I have an expectation that the vegetables will be bountiful and will keep coming until the first frost lights upon the trees.

At least the tomatoes are delicious. There is nothing better than a fully ripe tomato, vine picked and served and consumed that same day.

Now to scrape up a recipe for eggplant Parmesan.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Pacific Grits is Enjoying the 2009 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon

Since 1952 Jerry Lewis has served as chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and again this year, at 83, he is back as host of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

The years are catching up with Jerry Lewis. He is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease, and his movie career is behind him. But he presses on, and it's great to see him yet again raising money to fight neuro-muscular diseases.

I always enjoy watching the telethon, and have fond memories of watching it during the 1970's when the likes of Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis, Jr. would drop by. In latter years Jerry's MDA co-host has been America's favorite second banana, Ed McMahon, who died in June.

In opening this year's telethon, Lewis spoke fondly of McMahon, recalling McMahon's professionalism, generosity and compassion.

In a reflective moment Lewis added, “But I sure as hell hope that wherever he is, he’s got his booze.”

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Steel Married After All of These Years

It is our wedding anniversary today – the “steel” anniversary, number 11. As I have always chosen anniversary gifts based on tradition, I had been hoping for a break this year, still reeling after last year’s “tin” anniversary. But I think I managed tin (ten) all right, when it occurred to me that I could get away with putting a real gift (jewelry) into an antique tea tin.

This year I blew it. I bought my wife a Jeep just before discovering that the 11th anniversary gift was steel. I bought a lot of steel just last month, and upon consultation with people who know such things, one cannot retroactively re-give a given gift.

So the Jeep is out as a wedding gift, and I don’t know where to buy girders. Perhaps someone out there has a bridge for sale.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

In the News - More from Japan

Incoming Japanese first lady Yukio Hatoyama has come forward with the startling revelation that she and American actor Tom Cruise are longtime friends—from a past life.

"I was with him then,” she reported, referring to his past incarnation as a Japanese man. “So he would recognize me when I see him and say 'long time, no see!'"

She claimed that she and Cruise, after they are reunited, will star in a film together. “This film will change your values,” she boasted. “I will win the Oscar for sure.”

She did not comment on whether she had confused a "past life" with a screening of The Last Samurai.

Also, no comment from Cruise, who, as a Scientologist, may have traveled to the planet Venus on a triangular UFO while he slept.

In the News

Yukio Hatoyama, the incoming first lady of Japan, reported that she traveled to the planet Venus in a triangular UFO while she slept.

The incident is chronicled in her book, Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered.

Failing to mention the crater-mottled volcanic plains, clouds of sulfur dioxide and a poisonous carbon dioxide atmosphere with a surface pressure 92 times that of Earth, she described Venus as “a very beautiful place and very green.” Venusian surface temperatures of over 850 °F apparently failed to affect her pale complexion.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel

I guess it's no surprise that Disney is snatching up the Marvel universe for a cool $4 billion. But do we really need to get Donald Duck and Howard the Duck together? That spells trouble as far as I am concerned. (Though seeing Namor the Sub-Mariner romance Ariel might be intriguing.)

And what does this mean for Disneyland? Some lame Hulk-themed ride through a dark tunnel?

I have to say I have a soft spot for Marvel comics. I started reading the Fantastic Four in the late 70's, and who doesn't love Spider-Man? Perhaps they'll make a good fit for Disney. Pixar, the animation studio, was a smart acquisition on Disney's part, mainly because over the past few years the family fare released under the Disney banner has been pretty lame.

This is a sad comment: the best Walt Disney movie in the past couple of years has been Hannah Montana.

What might they do for Spider-Man 4?